Well, club might be a stretch, but when we heard that the Brooksider Bar & Grill drew a weekend crowd that was "shady," we had to check it out.
Upon entering, though, it was apparent that the revelers that night were more on the young, collegiate side. Girl tribes in boob tops wandered about en masse as if it were rush week; hot, clean-cut boys clad in short-sleeve, button-down cotton shirts stood around, beers in hand, mouths agape at the big TVs that were tuned to some Ibiza-foam party on E!
"I thought this was a sports bar," said Research Assistant Matt as a chick in a paper penis tiara walked by and some tube tops near us started rockin' out to "Livin' on a Prayer." "I didn't know it turns into Club Brooksider." Unfortunately, the mood was killed by whomever put "Hey Joe" on the jukebox.
After 10, the place got cramped, and the only way to maneuver through the crowd was to take baby steps and draw all extremities inward (while willing an invisible protective bubble around our Boulevard Wheat draws). Normally, that would be enough to label the Brooksider an aggro bar -- a place that immediately pisses us off and makes us want to kick someone in the junk or make unsolicited catty comments to strangers. Everyone was amazingly polite, though, which was somewhat surprising (a lot of excuse mes were thrown around), and it set the tone for the night. But Austin, a quasi-regular we met, didn't fully agree with our assessment. "It can be touch-and-go sometimes," he said.
It also helped that there was no cover and the bartenders were really efficient at the front bar, which RA Amy D. appreciated. "I'm going to write a letter to the manager," she said, happy that her Vanilla Stoli and Coke needs were quickly met. "I didn't know if it was because they knew you [from the NR credit card], but they were like that with the people in front of me, too."
The upstairs thinned out considerably when the basement -- the designated dance area -- opened at 11. OK, we know that we've deemed other bar basements suburban, but the Brooksider's basement was the ultimate in suburbanosity. It was wood-paneled, and the stairs had a rickety, wrought-iron bannister. "It's like we should break the lock on the liquor cabinet to get drunk," Matt said. "It's a rec room." Off to the side was a smaller room that contained a Golden Tee, a big-screen TV and a few couches. We deemed it the makeout room, but when we later asked manager Rob Maloney whether any makeout-age occurred, he said, "No, no. It's just kind of a hangout. You can smoke a cigarette or drink a drink with friends." We sent Matt and Amy in to test it out. "It's a little too bright in there," said Amy of the multiple neon beer signs that aggressively glowed on one wall. "There's not a lot of making out. Maybe if it were darker and there were more drugs," she suggested.
In the meantime, RA Laura was talking to Tariq the DJ. "I asked if he had anything ultracool," she said. "He said, 'I play the lowest common denominator here.'" And indeed, he played all of our guilty pleasures, like, um ... Britney and Justin. Tariq said he thought the LCD stuff was "the most fun to dance to." He added, "The crowd, in general, really likes it, and it appeals to the younger kids as well as those our age. Also, it just makes for a really light and fun atmosphere."
Another thing that makes for a light and fun night is Brooksider's happy hour. The drink specials vary every day; on Wednesdays, the bar charges $2 for all drinks and beers. Which makes for an interesting math question: When you take the LCD of $2 and multiply it by a few drinks, then divide out the shady factor, what is the remainder? Us, sitting at the bar.